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Nuances of Completion: Improving Student Outcomes by Unpacking the Numbers

Rassen, Elisa; Chaplot, Priyadarshini; Jenkins, Paul Davis; Johnstone, Rob

“Accountability” is one of most loaded terms in education today. State governments, students, parents and taxpayers are demanding to know whether public education institutions are spending their money wisely and producing results. In response, colleges are investing enormous amounts of time, energy and resources in trying to increase the number of certificates and degrees awarded and transfers achieved. Increasingly, “completion” numbers often become the litmus test for the success or failure of an entire institution. Amidst this frenzy of activity to improve student completion rates, few colleges have had time to “unpack” the numbers and examine the student experiences being represented by these figures. No matter how big or small, each and every community college serves a diverse group of students with a broad range of backgrounds, talents and goals. These students have not only widely varied starting points and end goals, but also varied pathways to completion. How can colleges better understand the factors that affect diverse students’ ability to achieve completion?

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Community College Research Center
Publisher
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 12, 2014
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